08 March 1999
Bulgarian about-face on foreign farmowners

BULGARIA has reversed its opposition on foreign ownership of land and is now actively encouraging foreign investment in the agricultural sector, reports the Financial Times.

Slow progress on land restitution since the collapse of communism in 1989 has slowed development of the agricultural sector.

But Bulgaria has now reduced restrictions on foreign investors buying farmland, and increased measures to return full property titles to pre-communist owners.

Another factor inhibiting development in the country has been the fragmentation of farms, which are not expected to see modern dairy units for three or four years.

Bulgaria has liberalised farm prices and trade, although the cereals sector is partially protected.

The privatisation of food processing in under way, but state companies still control 50% of the sector